Archive | February, 2012

Book news: Water Witch by Carol Goodman

29 Feb

I really enjoyed the first book in the Fairwick Chronicles series, Incubus, which was released last year and have been eagerly awaiting details of the sequel so I was excited to see that the cover for Water Witch has been released. It’s a great cover and I can’t wait to find out what happens next to Callie and the residents of Fairwick. Water Witch will be published on 13th September by Ebury Press.

In the town of Fairwick there is a dark wood, and in the wood there is a stream. And in that stream the Undine live…

Descended from a longline of ‘door-keepers’, Callie McFay has become the guardian of the last gateway between the world of Faerie and mankind.

But unbeknown to Callie there is another door in Fairwick to the world of the Fae – a watery portal that she must now open in order to allow the Undine – juvenile water nymphs – to return to their Faerie world.

If Callie fails in her task, the Undine will die. But they are not the only watery creatures looking for a way to cross the borderlands between the two worlds…

Book review: Shooting Stars by Allison Rushby

28 Feb

Jo is a 16-year-old paparazzo who’s desperate to get out of the game, but needs the money.  When she’s offered a week-long job with fantastic pay, it seems like the perfect solution to her problems.  But this particular job is low and dirty and will mean betraying the only star she’s ever liked…

Jo or Zo Jo as she is know on the paparazzi circuit is a streetwise sixteen year old living in LA. Jo trades on her youth and ability to look younger than she is to get into places that the average paparazzo can’t and as a result has achieved a certain level of fame and notoriety for getting the shots that no-one else can get. In Shooting Stars we meet Jo as she’s offered the chance of a lifetime to gain access to a hot male star in an undercover assignment which will allow her to earn the  money she needs to go to study towards her dream career as a portrait photographer.

I liked Jo a lot; she’s independent, strong-minded, feisty and fun. The novel launches straight into the action as she sneaks into the venue of the moment in pursuit of teen music star Ned Hartnett. I did find myself wondering how she got away with running all over town in pursuit of the rich and famous (I don’t think my parents would have let me do that at 16!) but Jo’s Dad is a famous paparazzo too and fully supportive of his daughter’s after school job. Both the glam and nasty sides of Jo’s job are shown in full as the novel progressed and I was in turn impressed by Jo’s ability to hold her own in a largely male domain and surprised by the life she leads and the impact that her photography has. Shooting Stars will certainly make you think about the relationship between the famous, the media and the public.

As Jo finds herself stalking Ned undercover at a retreat in Boston, the story becomes even more interesting as she is forced to confront some of her own demons and faces a major dilemma about the task she’s been set as her friendship with Ned deepens. But all isn’t what it seems and it soon becomes clear that Jo isn’t the only one with secrets. I loved the twist in the story and thought it was really nicely done and not entirely what I was expecting. The romance element to the novel is so cute and I also thought the supporting cast were good believable characters and I especially liked failed ballerina Katrina. The novel raises a number of deeper issues that I’m sure many readers will empathise with; feelings of failure, difficult relationships with parents, bereavement and loss and also touches on mental health issues, striking a good balance between the serious and lighter moments.

Allison Rushby gets extra kudos from me for ending her novel with a fab epilogue that rounds up what happened to the main characters after the main story ended – I love knowing what happens next to the characters I read about, so thank you Allison! Shooting Stars is the first of Allison’s novels that I’ve read and I really enjoyed her style of storytelling. I’m very excited that she is currently working on an e-serial set in 1920’s London called The Honourables, where triplets, estranged since birth, are suddenly brought together and forced to compete for their inheritance! Look out for the first installment in the summer.

4/5
Shooting Stars is released today and I’d like to thank Allison for sending me a review copy.
You can find out more about Allison and her writing on her website at: http://allisonrushby.com/

Book review: Lost in Time by Melissa de la Cruz

27 Feb

Schuyler’s hunt for the Gates is becoming more intense as the vampire world is beginning to show cracks. The New York Coven’s ancient lore and the desires of young vampires keep coming into dangerous conflict that could have repercussions worldwide. The course of forbidden love never did run smooth…

I’ve had this book on my ‘to read’ pile for a little while so when the urge to read something ‘paranormal’ came on last week, I went straight to my favourite vampire series. This is the sixth novel in the Blue Bloods series and the penultimate; the final book The Gates of Paradise will be releasd in January next year. Although I love this series, I’m pleased it is coming to an end; I enjoyed Lost in Time but not as much as some of the earlier novels in the series and at times I felt like the plot and mysteries were just going round in circles with very little being reveled that moved the story on.

As I’ve said in previous reviews, it’s hard to comment in depth on a particular installment of the series without giving away spoilers to those who haven’t read the earlier books so I’ll keep my comments short and please don’t read on if you are planning to read the other books in the Blue Bloods saga first.

Lost in Time is actually three separate stories which interconnect but involve separate groupings of characters. The first story is that of Schuyler as she hunts for the Gate of Promise. This part of her quest takes her to Egypt and also tells the next part in the tale of Schuyler and Jack’s relationship. For me, this was the least gripping of the three plots in Lost in Time and at times I got quite confused as to who was who and what had happened before.

The second strand to the story is led by Mimi and Oliver. Regular readers will know that Oliver has always been one of my favourite characters in the Blue Bloods novels so I was really pleased to see that he had a significant presence in this book. I’m still hoping that Oliver will get a happy ending! Mimi’s character has undergone a dramatic change as the series has progressed and I think her true character really comes out as she descends into the depths of Hell in Lost in Time to search for Kingsley Martin. I’m always surprised by the amount of humour Mimi brings to the plot and this novel was no exception.

The final storyline was the one that had me most intrigued and gripped as I was reading, telling the story of Schuyler’s mother Allegra and her relationship with Schuyler’s father. The beginning of this story was told in the Bloody Valentine novella and I was so pleased to see that the full story has now been told – it filled in a lot of gaps for me and finally answered some of the questions I had!

As with all of the novels in this series, Lost in Time ends on a cliffhanger which left me wishing I had the seventh book to read right now. I’m already looking forward to reading the final installment and can’t wait to find out how the series ends. Lost in Time reminded me how much I enjoy Melissa de la Cruz’s books – I always read them quickly and I love the worlds she creates so I’ll be turing my attention to her new adult series The Witches of the East, which takes place in the same world as the Blue Bloods, while I wait.

4/5

You can find out more about Melissa de la Cruz and her novels at: http://www.melissa-delacruz.com/

Author interview: Roberta Rich

23 Feb

Today I’m welcoming Roberta Rich to One More Page as part of the blog tour for the UK release of her debut novel, The Midwife of Venice.

Your debut historical fiction novel, The Midwife of Venice had its UK release on 16th February, please could you tell us a little about it?

Hannah Levi, a Jewish midwife in the Venetian ghetto in the 16th century, has gained renown for her skill in coaxing reluctant babies out of their mother’s bellies using her “birthing spoons”, a rudimentary form of forceps. One night a Christian nobleman, Conte Paolo di Padovani, appears at Hannah’s door with an dangerous  request. He implores Hannah to help his dying wife and save their unborn child. But a Papal edict has made it a crime, punishable by death, for Jews to render medical treatment to Christians. Hannah refuses. The Conte offers her a huge sum of money, enough to enable her to sail to Malta to ransom her beloved husband, Isaac who has been captured at sea and is a slave of  the Knights of St. John.

Against the Rabbi’s advice, Hannah goes with the Conte and delivers the infant, Matteo, a child who captures her heart.  As she prepares to depart for Malta to rescue Isaac, she discovers that the baby’s uncles are plotting to murder the baby in order to seize the family fortune.  In the absence of the Conte and his wife who are in Ferrara on urgent family matters, there is no one but Hannah to save Matteo. She enlists her sister, Jessica who is a courtesan and living as a Christian outside the ghetto. An outbreak of the plague traps them in Venice and makes them easy prey for the baby’s murderous uncles.

I really enjoyed the vivid descriptions of sixteenth century Venice in the novel; what drew you to the city as a setting?

There are many cities I love but  Venice is my favourite because everyone is always lost. It is impossible to navigate the city. Even Venetians wander helplessly searching for their apartments or their favourite restaurant or friends they were supposed to meet at a café somewhere for a glass of  prosecco.

Ian McEwen described this feeling of being hopelessly and utterly lost  perfectly in The Comfort of Strangers, a very sinister book which haunts me years after I read it.

During the time period I am interested in― the 16th century―there were gangs of young boys with pine torches to lead you to your destination. I have a dreadful sense of direction so the fact that everyone is always lost in Venice makes me feel better about myself.

Next on the list of wonderful cities would be Istanbul. My characters, Hannah and Isaac are, in sequel,  running a silk workshop in Constantinople. I must say, after three visits to Istanbul for research, I am enraptured by the city for its architecture, sense of design and colour, tasty food, and relentless carpet salesmen.

Yours is the first historical novel I’ve read with a detailed focus on midwifery; what drew you to the topic and how did you go about your research?

In 2007 my husband and I were on a walking tour of Venice, which began at the Rialto Bridge and ended in the Jewish ghetto. As I stood in the lovely square studying the tall, knife shaped building, I wondered about the lives of the thousands of people who had lived there over the 300 or so years of the ghetto’s history. I wondered in particular about the lives of the women and tried to imagine birthing children in such dark, confined, cramped living quarters. When we visited the ghetto museum I noticed a pair of lovely silver spoons and their position in the display case made me think of forceps. This is an interesting topic for me as my daughter was born with the aid of forceps. I started doing research and read about the Chamberlen family a medical family in the London who invented forceps but kept it a family secret for two hundred years.

I came across an early textbook of midwifery, a rather gruesome book written in the 1600’s  (not recommended for those of child bearing age) called Justine, Court Midwife. Justine Siegemund’s obstetrical manual was one of the first to be written by a woman. Siegemund was midwife to many members of the Hapsburg family.

I am also fortunate to have a friend, Rhoda Friedricks, who is a professor of Early Modern history. Rhoda set me straight on number of things, including the plausibility of the ‘birthing spoons’ that Hannah invested. I actually thought of the idea of birthing spoons before I had the idea for Hannah’s character.

Hannah (the midwife of the title) is a great character and I admired her bravery. Please could you describe her in five words?

Nice Jewish girl. Lacks impulse control. (Sorry, that’s 6)

If you could visit any historical time and place, when and where would you go?

That would depend, of course, on my social class. We always assume when thinking about this question that we would be upper class and lead lives of  privilege and wealth. If I was a wealthy Venetian woman, I would live in a Palladian villa, on the River Brenta, near Venice, and ride horses, cultivate a vineyard and have lots of children and lots of servants to look after them. If I was poor, I would live in present day Sweden.

The love story between Hannah and her husband Isaac is a wonderful and gripping element to the novel as they take risks and fight to be together; who are your favourite literary hero and heroine?

Catherine and Heathcliff from Wuthering Heights captured my imagination when I first read it in high school.  The wildness, the passion, the dreadful pull and pull of their tortured lives is inspiring.

What do you like to read when you’re not writing and researching?

My reading has changed since I started writing full time. I used to be a ‘drive-by reader’, pick up a book, read a chapter, finish it if I enjoyed it, or toss it aside if I didn’t. I read everything- thrillers, mysteries, historical, literary.

I am now more purposeful in my reading. I read anything I can get my hands on dealing with Venice and Constantinople in the 16th century. I wade through academic books which are often useful, not for the kind of ‘day to day’ details I need to make my settings and characters come alive, but good for a general overview, and a sense of the period in general. It helps me avoid the kind of cringe inducing mistakes I occasionally come across in other historical novels. Recently, I read a novel set in 15th century Rome that referred to Italy as a ‘country’. Italy was the new kid on the block in terms of unification―a collection of warring city states― and only became what we would think of as a country since the 19th century. Of course, I read a lot of historical novels. I admire Sandra Gulland, Fred Vargas and Mary Novik. I read with fear and trepidation. What if the book I just picked up is better written, smarter, wittier than anything I could have written? Guess what? Sometimes they are.

At the moment, I am reading a book I found in a hotel where I had breakfast last week in Manzanillo, Mexico― The Crossing by Cormac McCarthy. I am speechless with admirable for the economy of dialogue and complete lack of internal dialogue. McCarthy is a writer who isn’t afraid to trust his reader.

And finally … what can readers look forward to next from Roberta Rich?

I have been working like a maddened badger on the sequel. I still don’t have a title, or rather I have a title but it is so bad- i.e. obscure and difficult to remember, that I won’t tell you what it is. The first draft is complete and awaits my editor’s suggestions. There will be lots of revisions before it is complete and sees the light of day. Complete is a strange word to use in this context. Is a manuscript ever complete? Or are they like children?

Thank you Roberta!

You can find out more about Roberta and The Midwife of Venice on her website at: http://robertarich.com/

Please check out the other stops on The Midwife of Venice blog tour too!

Book news: Leftovers by Arthur Wooten

21 Feb

I really enjoyed Arthur Wooten’s last novel Birthday Pie so was excited to see that he is releaseing a new novel in April. Leftovers is described as a ‘romantic dramedy’. It sounds like a great read and has a fab cover!

Vivian Lawson’s fantasy of being the perfect 1950s suburban housewife is shattered when an uncontrollable event changes her life forever.

Destitute and left to fend for herself in a man’s world, she searches her New England town unable to find a job. With nowhere to turn, Vivian takes the advice of her wisecracking best friend, Babs, and reluctantly becomes a Tupperware lady.

Vivian struggles with low self-esteem as well as stage fright but with the support of Bab’s lovesick brother, Stew, and the creator of Tupperware’s Home Party Plan system, Brownie Wise, she may just find the strength to conquer her inner demons and take control of her life.

Leftovers will be be published on 15th April. If you’re curious to read some of Arthur’s previous work and own a Kindle, Arthur Wooten’s Novels are available for the bargain price of just 77p each at the moment!!

Book review: Russian Winter by Daphne Kalotay

20 Feb

When Nina Revskaya puts her remarkable jewelry collection up for auction, the former Bolshoi Ballet star finds herself overwhelmed by memories of her homeland, and of the events that changed her life half a century earlier.

It was in Russia that she discovered the magic of dance and fell in love, and where, faced with Stalinist aggression, a terrible discovery incited a deadly act of betrayal—and an ingenious escape to the West.

Nina has kept her secrets for half a lifetime. But now Drew Brooks, an inquisitive associate at a Boston auction house, and Grigori Solodin, a professor who believes Nina’s jewels hold the key to unlocking his past, begin to unravel her story—setting in motion a series of revelations that will have life-altering consequences for them all.

A number of things attracted me to this book before I’d even read a page; firstly, the ballet element – a world which has always seemed mysterious and glamorous to me. Secondly, the historical backdrop of Stalinist Russia which would seem to present a complete contrast to the beauty of ballet and finally, the saga/mystery element because I love stories that follow a character through time.

Daphne Kalotay definitely delivers on all three areas and I found Russian Winter an involving read that I didn’t want to put down once I’d started. The descriptions of Nina’s time at the famed Bolshoi Ballet were fascinating and detailed and Kalotay has certainly done her research; the entire novel is a complex and detailed depiction of life as a ballerina and how it was to live in Russia in the immediate post-war era. The element of mystery is nicely done and kept me guessing almost until the end of the novel with a couple of very good twists.

The story is told through the eyes of three key characters all narrated in the third person. The majority of the tale is Nina’s personal history told in flashback in parallel to the story of the sale of her jewellery collection in present day Boston. In the present, Drew Brooks, who works at the auction house and is responsible for putting together the catalogue for the jewel sale, begins to dig into Nina’s past and the history of the items for sale. The third key character, Grigori Solodin is also working in the present to unravel a personal mystery with a link to Nina and her jewels. Of the three, I found Nina’s story the most interesting and gripping but I liked the movement between the past and the present and the pace provided by Drew and Grigori which kept the mystery element moving, raising a number of questions as the novel progresses.

Although I found Nina’s story most interesting, I found it difficult to warm to her as a character for a large part of the novel. In the present she is suffering from ill health and wishes to forget her past which makes her quite a harsh and distant figure and her ambition and dedication as a ballerina, whilst admirable also give her a ‘separate’ air as her past is recounted. But this isn’t just Nina’s story and as the book progressed, I began to see how and why she became the person she is now and I felt more sympathetic to her. There are a number of complex sub-plots involving Nina’s friends and colleagues at the Bolshoi and her husband, all of which combine with Drew and Grigori’s uncovering of snippets of information in the present to create an historical saga with depth which builds to some shocking revelations at the end.

I did feel that the ending was a little abrupt – it tied up the story nicely but I’m one of those readers who always wants to know what happened next and the ending left me wondering about the characters and what happened following the final revelations. Overall though, I found Russian Winter a very enjoyable read and would recommend it as a sophisticated read for historical fiction fans.

4/5

I’d like to thank the publisher Arrow for sending me a review copy of this book.

You can find out more about Daphne Kalotay and Russian Winter on her website at: http://www.daphnekalotay.com/

This review is part of the Russian Winter blog tour organised by TLC Book Tours. Please check out the other stops on the tour to see other reviews and an interview with Daphne:

Wednesday, February 8th: Reading With Tea
Thursday, February 9th: Fleur Fisher in her world
Tuesday, February 14th: DizzyC’s Little Book Blog
Wednesday, February 15th: Pining for the West
Thursday, February 16th: Chuck’s Miscellany
Tuesday, February 21th: I hug my books
Wednesday, February 22th: The Sweet Bookshelf
Thursday, February 23rd: A Book Sanctuary

Book news: The Book of Summers by Emylia Hall

17 Feb

There are so many exciting debuts being released in 2012 and The Book of Summers by Emylia Hall is one that I’ve been seeing lots of buzz about. I was already in love with the beautiful cover and then I saw the book trailer below, released earlier this week and am completely intrigued!

Beth Lowe has been sent a parcel.

Inside is a letter informing her that her long-estranged mother has died, and a scrapbook Beth has never seen before. Entitled The Book of Summers, it’s stuffed with photographs and mementos complied by her mother to record the seven glorious childhood summers Beth spent in rural Hungary.

It was a time when she trod the tightrope between separated parents and two very different countries; her bewitching but imperfect Hungarian mother and her gentle, reticent English father; the dazzling house of a Hungarian artist and an empty-feeling cottage in deepest Devon. And it was a time that came to the most brutal of ends the year Beth turned sixteen.

Since then, Beth hasn’t allowed herself to think about those years of her childhood. But the arrival of The Book of Summers brings the past tumbling back into the present; as vivid, painful and vital as ever.


The Book of Summers is released in hardback on 1st March and in paperback in June. Find out more and read an extract at http://www.thebookofsummers.co.uk/

Book review: The Midwife of Venice by Roberta Rich

16 Feb

At midnight, the dogs, cats, and rats rule Venice. The Ponte di Ghetto Nuovo, the bridge that leads to the ghetto, trembles under the weight of sacks of rotting vegetables, rancid fat, and vermin. Seeping refuse on the streets renders the pavement slick and the walking treacherous.

It was on such a night that the men came for Hannah.

Hannah Levi is famed throughout Venice for her skills as a midwife but, as a Jew, the law forbids her from attending a Christian woman.

However, when the Conte appears at her door in the dead of night,Hannah’s compassion is sorely tested. And with the handsome reward he is offering, she could ransom back her husband, currently imprisoned on the island of Malta.

But if she fails in her endeavours to save mother and child, will she be able to save herself, let alone her husband?

Roberta Rich’s debut is a fast paced and dramatic historical novel with a touching underlying love story and gripping plot. There are two strands to the story which run in parallel; the first and more predominant is Hannah’s story, based largely in Venice; the second is that of Hannah’s husband Isaac who is being held to ransom in Malta. The two stories interrupt each other every two or three chapters, often leaving the other part of the story on a cliffhanger which makes The Midwife of Venice a real page turner!

Rich has clearly done her research and conjures up the sights, sounds and smells of sixteenth century Venice in excellent detail. I was drawn to this book because of its unusual subject matter – I haven’t come across another historical novel which has midwifery as a key theme and as with the detail of the setting, Rich’s descriptions of child birth are very vivid and despite their drama come across as all too believable and realistic (warning to pregnant readers – you might want to save this one for after you’ve given birth!)

Hannah is an interesting and complex character whose strengths and beliefs are tested to their limits during the course of the novel. The story launches straight into the action as Hannah is summoned in the middle of the night to attend the wife of a wealthy Conte who is suffering a difficult labour. Hannah is a Jew; the Conte and his wife are Christians. Hannah is forbidden by law to assist with the birth but to accept the the Conte’s plea would mean that she’d be able to free husband. This is just the first of the challenges thrown at both Hannah and Isaac during the novel and as the story plays out they both have their love and faith tested to the full. I found myself caught up in Hannah’s dilemmas and enjoyed reading as her character developed, admiring the strength she showed throughout. I found Isaac’s part of the story less engaging but interesting as he attempts to win his freedom.

The Midwife of Venice is far more action packed than its title suggests with subplots that involve murder, plague and blackmail leading to some dramatic scenes and a number of creative escapes on Hannah’s behalf. Underneath the drama there is a strong theme of love and faith and I found the story of young Matteo, the child who Hannah helps bring into the world at the start of the novel, very touching.

An entertaining and original debut, I found The Midwife of Venice a quick and enjoyable read. I’m pleased to see that Rich is already working on a sequel and I look forward to reading more of Hannah’s adventures in the future.

4/5

The Midwife of Venice is released today and I’d like to thank Hannah at Ebury Publishing for sending me a review copy.

You can find out more about Roberta Rich and her writing at: http://robertarich.com/

I’ll be interviewing Roberta next week as part of her blog tour so please stop by to find out more about her debut!


Book news: The Jane Austen Marriage Manual by Kim Izzo

15 Feb

The cover for this book caught my eye when it was mentioned on Twitter recently – isn’t it cute? The Jane Austen Marriage Manual is Kim Izzo’s debut novel and will be published by Hodder & Stoughton on 12th April. It sounds like a fab fun read and as an Austen fan it went straight on my wish list!

It`s a truth universally acknowledged that Jane Austen knew more about marriage than anyone else. `Never mind that she never got married herself…`

It`s in the midst of the recession when Kate, a freelance journalist and self-professed Jane Austen addict, finds herself single, unemployed and soon-to-be homeless `not to mention about to turn 40`.

In desperation she accepts a writing assignment to prove a theory that in the toughest economic times a wealthy man is the only must-have accessory. So, with just Jane Austen`s advice for company, she sets off to see if Mr Rich can ever become Mr Right.

Her mission takes her to Palm Beach, St Moritz and London. Where, in keeping company with the elite, she meets billionaires, oil tycoons, and generally men who make Mr Darcy look like an amateur. But will rubbing shoulders with men of good fortune ever actually lead her to love?

Book review: The Angel at No. 33 by Polly Williams

14 Feb

‘Am I dead? I don’t feel dead…’

Sophie cannot leave the people she loves. Her husband, Ollie – a man who once watered a houseplant for a year before realising it was plastic – is lost without her. Their son Freddie is so little. And her friend Jenny? There’s something she desperately needs to know before it’s too late.

Sophie is only thirty-five when she gets hit by a bus on Regent Street, leaving her husband Ollie, six year old son Freddie,  her best friend Jenny and the rest of her family and friends shocked and grieving. But Sophie hasn’t quite left them yet; she’s still floating around, watching over her nearest and dearest.  The Angel at No. 33 is the story of Sophie and her loved ones in the year following her death. You might be forgiven for thinking this would be a real tear-jerker of a novel and of course, in places it is (Sophie’s little boy Freddie got to me every time) but as well as being incredibly moving The Angel at No. 33 is also funny, insightful and ultimately uplifting.

Sophie tells us much of the story herself with heartfelt, often amusing commentary on her life and death that strikes just the right emotional balance. If I met someone like Sophie in real life I’d probably be quite intimidated (gorgeous, amazing husband, life and soul of every party, clever and funny) but as a ghostly presence, Sophie becomes more reflective about her life and what was actually important and I loved the observations that she came up with as she watched over the people she loves most.

Alternating with Sophie’s thoughts, the rest of the novel is told in the third person and focuses on key characters trying to cope without Sophie. Predominantly Ollie and Jenny but also the Muswell Hill mums; Sophie’s quirky, eclectic and slightly frightening local support network. The Muswell Hill mums cover a multitude of mummy categories with Tash, the hot divorcee, Lydia the emotional one and Suze, the ultimate organiser and as they launch into committee mode in a bid to rescue Ollie from self destruction and domestic neglect this storyline brings a lot of the humor to the book! Jenny is also roped into their plans as the person who knows Sophie, Freddie and Ollie best and the coming together of the different friends in Sophie’s life made me think about my own friends and the ways I mix them or don’t!

Jenny has her own set of problems in the form of fiance Sam who is reluctant to set a wedding date and Sophie’s death also makes her step back and evaluate her life. I liked Jenny a lot, perhaps because she seems to be the most ‘normal’ of the female characters in the book but also because she tries so hard to be there for everyone and genuinely cares without going overboard.

As Ollie and Freddie’s lives become open to scrutiny, Williams addresses issues of bereavement, grieving and moving on, truthfully and I only had one small gripe about one of Ollie’s actions as he tries to come to terms with Sophie’s death. I liked the way Sophie is used as the detached observer to bring wry observations and humor to sensitive issues without belittling them.

Well written with engaging characters, I liked Polly William’s style and found The Angel at No. 33 to be a real page turner. Thanks to a mysterious box of hidden letters and a cryptic ‘to do’ list left by Sophie there is also an element of mystery to the plot. Although the subject matter is sad and very moving, it’s not depressing and  The Angel at No. 33 is a bittersweet, romantic and enjoyable read.

4/5

The Angel at No. 33 is Polly’s sixth novel and is out now. You can find out more about Polly and her books at: http://www.pollywilliams.com/